San Francisco/Noe Valley

San Francisco/Noe Valley, San Francisco County

San Francisco area, San Francisco Bay Area region

Noe Valley Branch Library
451 Jersey Street
San Francisco, CA 94114

opened 1916
Public library from 1916-present
currently a public library

grant amount: $38,000
architectural style: Classical Revival (Type C)
architect: John Reid, Jr.

In accordance with the 1901 letter from Andrew Carnegie to Mayor James Phelan, promising $750,000 for a main library and branches, the Carnegie funds were allocated more or less one half for a main library and the remainder for branches. The city paid the difference between the main library's Carnegie share and its $1,152,000 total cost. The branch share was divided among seven libraries. No lots were donated and land costs ranged from a high in densely populated Mission property to a city owned lot in less developed Richmond; in at least one case the neighbors contributed to land costs.

Most of the branches have been enlarged very slightly, all have been retrofitted due to higher standards and varying degrees of earthquake damage, and all are included in San Francisco's "List of Architecturally Significant Buildings." And all of the branches still serve as libraries.

For the third Carnegie branch, in Noe Valley, a larger lot could be purchased for less than in the nearby crowded Mission district. Located in a residential area between Castro and Diamond streets on Jersey Street, which runs parallel to and between 24th and 25th streets, west of Dolores Street, the library is set back from the sidewalk on its lot which slopes up hill from a high retaining wall bordering the sidewalk. John Reid Jr. designed the Classical Revival brick building which was constructed at a cost of $37,499. The tall rectangular building under a low gable tiled roof, is faced with brick laid in a tapestry pattern. Five large windows framed together and slightly recessed, are separated by slim columns resting on one long sill.